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Embassy Barometer – Embassy 35

Envoys urge better leadership in 2012

London’s diplomats have appealed for “decisive” and “more honest” leadership in 2012 in a recent survey by Embassy magazine.

With key presidential elections due in the US, Russia, France and Egypt, diplomats hoped for better leadership after a crisis-driven 2011, which they felt had been marked by indecision by world leaders when facing tough challenges, including the solutions to the eurozone crisis and action on stabilising the Middle East following the Arab uprisings.

In expressing hopes for the coming year, concerns over the economy dominated, especially the “cooling impact” a protracted eurozone crisis could have on the world economy.

They also worried about the repercussions of the Arab uprisings in the Middle East and beyond, particularly the role of Iran.

On the regional front, one African economic attaché appealed for better trading relations between North and South and a bigger role for Africa in new markets, while a small island state asked “to reduce the scourge of global warming with more urgency”. One Latin American envoy remarked that while their region was doing well, there were also worrying signs of “social instability”.

Perhaps with the US presidential race in the back of his mind, one diplomat asked for the “return of optimism” in 2012 and “the belief in ‘yes we can!’” – but will that mean a second term for President Obama in November or will the Americans return a Republican president to the White House?

Whoever it is, the diplomats’ message is clear: a little less conversation and a little more action.

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